Amazon’s Bizarre Marketing

So I go check out my Amazon page in the run-up to my new novel’s release. To get to the page, I type in my name. And yes, I find my two novels at the top of the page, the two editions of A Stone for Bread and the Absolution hardback. And my author info. So far…

From Acceptance to Publication: The Longest Year, Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about the editing and design of a new book. Now come the three “P’s” of book publishing: proofing, printing and publicity. Proofing is one of those tediously joyless tasks that requires a trained eye and a solid grasp of grammar and mechanics. It’s easy to want to just delegate the proofing to your publisher’s editorial staff. But it’s important for writers to proof…

From Acceptance to Publication: The Longest Year, Part 1

The most exciting moment in a writer’s life is a publisher’s phone call. Your book or novel or collection of stories has been accepted for publication. For first-time authors, this may come after months, even years of submissions, not infrequently accompanied by intermittent bouts of despair. But then the phone call… The dream accomplished. You’ll soon be…

Objective Distance

“Jean-Paul Sartre said that it takes 20 years for a writer to objectively read his own work as his audience does….” That vantage may offer the writer “the delightful experience of encountering himself as a stranger.” cited by Charles Johnson, author of MIDDLE PASSAGE, in a recent NY Times interview.   For some of us, this may not…

Encountering America’s Racial Divide

In the spring of 1972, I was teaching Freshman English three nights a week at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey. This was five years after the race riots that destroyed much of inner city Newark and led to a number of deaths. Essex College was situated in downtown Newark, and even after five…

Tips for Writers: The Outtake File

Warning: Never delete that page you hate! Or a character who’s all wrong! Or trash a manuscript in disgust!   Certainly, we writers all have those moments. And yes, I delete lines here and there, even paragraphs but almost never entire pages of a manuscript I’m working on. Instead, I cut the passages I’m unhappy with or that aren’t right for a particular…

Galleys, Page Proofs, PDFs — Cape Cods?

Just before we took off for a 10 day vacation, I read, edited and returned the final set of pdfs (page proofs) for my forthcoming novel A Stone for Bread. This was the second reading and like the first was a  process that can be both  exciting and tedious — exciting to see the novel actually in…